Are the food recalls on fresh food caused because of the soil they are grown in? Well, that can be a hard question to answer since each recall is unique.
For the most part, the viruses or bacteria get on the food surfaces while the food is in the field, during handling, preparation, or processing. Many times, the microorganism that causes the recall is from fecal matter. Many of the pathogens live as a host inside an animal, not causing the animal any harm. It’s only when it gets inside a person that it becomes a problem. If that person works with food preparation or handling, the illness is apt to be spread a lot further.
While in the field, animal waste could be a problem in spreading infectious diseases, but it’s a lot more often that humans spread it when preparing food. It can also be spread in situations where human wasted that is untreated is used as fertilizer. Any pathogens in that waste can be transferred to the food.
What about the pathogens being spread through the soil? Well, the soil does not have the nutrients that the pathogenic microorganisms look for or the conditions they need to grow, such as sunlight, moisture, and temperature. Because of this, it is not a good place for pathogens to live so they will die off fairly quickly. The pathogens thrive in the nutrient rich guts of humans or animals, not in the dry hot soil. The sun kills the bacteria as well.
Due to this, soil is not a likely source for food that is contaminated. If the soil is treated improperly close to time for harvest with waste that is infected, it may be the source, but that is uncommon. There are many things in place to keep that from happening, as long as the regulations are followed.
There are, however, many sources of pathogens that are able to find a way into the areas of production and bring with them contamination. This is why most events of food contamination is due to improper storage and handling of items well after they have left the farm.